As we entered through the main doors of the Colin Bell stand, we just knew that we were in for a treat. And the Manchester City Stadium Tour doesn’t disappoint – even if you’re not a true blue!
Our host Paul was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable. For example, did you know the stadium sits on the former Bradford Colliery? Or that the three lines on the City badge represent the three rivers running through Manchester? No? Me neither!
Our tour started in the chairman’s lounge, where VIPs are wined and dined before watching the match from heated luxury leather seats in the stadium. I’m sure I could get used to this level of comfort! And, for the benefit of those who prefer to stay in the lounge, I have never seen so many TVs to watch the footy on in one room.
We then headed downstairs to the players’ warm up room with bikes, weights and mats; plus a mini football net for the crossbar challenge. This is where children get the opportunity to show off their skills, chipping a football onto the crossbar. Next door is the home changing room, complete with players’ shirts; there’s a fab photo opportunity to be had here, sitting in your hero’s chair.
A recording of the crowd noise, from the legendary game in May 2012 when City won the league, is played in the tunnel as you walk out onto the pitch. You get that little tingle down your spine as you begin to dream! And in the technical area alongside the pitch, I had a real sense of what the atmosphere would be like when the 50,000-seater stadium is packed full of fans.
In the press room we posed in the manager’s chair, holding an important press conference, whilst watching ourselves on the TV monitors! You can take photos everywhere, and we weren’t ever rushed.
A tour of the Etihad Stadium is great for football fanatics, young and old. There’s plenty of free parking on site and the tour is accessible to pushchairs. There’s an outdoor picnic area by the club shop and a café in the nearby National Squash Centre (open weekdays and for weekend tournaments).
Stadium & Club Tour Adult £14, Child £10, under 4s free
Mon-Sat 10.30am-3.30pm Sun 10.30am-3pm
Manchester City FC, Etihad Stadium, Sport City, Manchester M11 3FF
Tel: 0161 444 1894 mcfc.co.uk